Joseph is a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. Genesis 49.22. Though his father, Israel (a.k.a Jacob) uses the term “wall” figuratively, if you know the story of Joseph, you will know that he spent some long hours surrounded by walls, walls that must have made his heart sink. There were the walls of a deep well where his brothers threw him and left him to die, the walls of slavehouses where he was held until the day he sold to Potiphar, and the walls of the deep dungeons of the Egyptian prison. But he grew up and over them all! His father’s poetic blessing expresses his admiration of Joseph’s courage and also a prophetic declaration.
Joseph’s ability to overcome so much hardship in his life prefigures the overcoming power and courage that is ours when we trust Christ, just as Joseph trusted in God. The Apostle Paul’s prayer from Colossians 1.9-11 reminds us of the purpose and plan in our life. He asks God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God being strengthened with all power according to according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience. We are to be filled with the knowledge of his will but there is more. We are not simply to be filled, but there is a purpose- that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work.
What are the walls that surround me today? I’m looking up at them and thinking: God, I’ll never make it. How about you? Is there is something you cannot get over? A setback that you have suffered? Circumstances that have become monolithic, a massive wall that you cannot climb? Is there someone whose heart has hardened toward you, as Joseph’s brothers were hardened against him? Whatever the obstacles, these are the “walls” – hardships we will find the courage and grace to get over, to grow over, as we grow up in Christ.